Obama Stimulus Aids CA Schools

No doubt you have heard of President Obama's stimulus package, the $789 billion that was approved in February to help
the nation deal with the current
economic crisis.

For Santa Monica College and many other educational institutions throughout California, there have been no promised amounts of money that the educational system will get; only estimates. According to the Los Angeles Times, it is estimated
that California will receive $26 billion which includes the "state stabilization fund" which accounts for $6 billion which would help avoid layoffs and cuts in services and creating jobs by having money
to modernize schools, colleges and

This money is expected to be used for those purposes yet the state deficit throughout next year is $41 billion in which some
lawmakers will try to make a little
smaller with the help of the stimulus;
and have healthcare or higher
education institutions cut their budget
according to the L.A. times.

"The federal government seems to be directing much of the money towards specific initiatives and projects deemed necessary for the economic recovery," said SMC Ph.D. political science professor Eric Oifer. "Clearly, stimulus funds will help California meet some of its obligations and promote certain new projects when it is short on revenue of its own. But, it will not directly pull California out of the budget crisis that it is in.

For instance, the underfunding of California's education system is not going to be rectified by stimulus money. That will come by way of legitimate budget reform in the state," Oifer said. As for when SMC will see any money from the stimulus package, "For us in the community college system, an important first step toward keeping our heads above water is passing the budget ballot measures that will up for a vote in May," Oifer said.

On May 19, there will be a statewide special election that will deal with budget related measures and the stimulus package and how voters believe the money should be used. There are six ballot propositions; one of the propositions that will become important for Santa Monica College will be Proposition 1B which would be supplemental payments to local school districts and community colleges to address recent budget cuts if any according to the California Secretary of State.

Even though no oppositions have been given against this measure, it is most likely to pass according to the California state wide special election voter guide website.
"The stimulus package is definitely gonna help the college in the long run even though no money is earmarked for community colleges yet," said Dr. Chui L. Tsang, president of SMC on whether the stimulus money will help or hurt SMC. Tsang did specify that there will be some money coming into the school through various programs the college is involved in.
Even if money is coming into SMC, there seems to be no notice of it to certain SMC students.

"I don't really know what is happening with the stimulus money, all I know is there is debate about it in Washington, but as long as it helps SMC it's good I guess," said student Adda Rodriguez. "I think any money a college gets is good," said student Liz Florez.

Until May will the direction of the stimulus funds will possibly be headed for SMC, even though amount is unspecified there will be a preparedness on how to ha ndle the funds when the time comes.